Friday, Dec 03, 2021
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FIRST test mission to SMASH into asteroid launched into space

RT, 24 Nov 2021
#NASA has launched #SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on a planetary defense mission to smash into an asteroid and test whether it would be possible to knock a speeding space rock off course if one were to threaten Earth.

After separation from the launch vehicle and over a year of cruising, it is expected to intercept an asteroid moonlet Dimorphos, which orbits a larger asteroid named Didymos, in autumn 2022, when the Didymos system is within 11 million kilometers of Earth.

The DART spacecraft is a kinetic impactor designed to collide with the moonlet to observe how its orbit around the larger asteroid is affected by the impact. The outcome of this test mission will allow NASA to determine if the method can be used to modify the trajectory of potentially hazardous asteroids in the future. Didymos is not considered a danger to Earth.

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